Take birth in higher plane with lower attainment?

I was wondering if a person can take birth in higher loka with lower attainment ? E.g. a person attaining first jhana , after death rebirth in fourth jhana realms ? Or attaining arupa jhana after death rebirth in rupa loka ?

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It’s possible if the person has destroy the five lower fetter (i.e Anagami):

“And what, Ānanda, is the path, the way to the abandoning of the five lower fetters? Here, with seclusion from the acquisitions, with the abandoning of unwholesome states, with the complete tranquillization of bodily inertia, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, a bhikkhu enters upon and abides in the first jhāna, which is accompanied by applied and sustained thought, with rapture and pleasure born of seclusion.

“Whatever exists therein of material form, feeling, perception, formations, and consciousness, he sees those states as impermanent, as suffering, as a disease, as a tumour, as a barb, as a calamity, as an affliction, as alien, as disintegrating, as void, as not self. He turns his mind away from those states and directs it towards the deathless element thus: ‘This is the peaceful, this is the sublime, that is, the stilling of all formations, the relinquishing of all attachments, the destruction of craving, dispassion, cessation, Nibbāna.’ If he is steady in that, he attains the destruction of the taints.
But if he does not attain the destruction of the taints because of that desire for the Dhamma, that delight in the Dhamma, then with the destruction of the five lower fetters he becomes one due to reappear spontaneously in the Pure Abodes and there attain final Nibbāna without ever returning from that world. This is the path, the way to the abandoning of the five lower fetters.
~ MN 64

“There is the case where an individual, withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities, enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. He regards whatever phenomena there that are connected with form, feeling, perception, fabrications, & consciousness, as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a disintegration, an emptiness, not-self. At the break-up of the body, after death, he reappears in conjunction with the devas of the Pure Abodes. This rebirth is not in common with run-of-the-mill people.
~ AN 4.124

What is the determinating factors that causing a person to rebirth in fourth rupa loka with lower attainment or higher attainment such as cessation of perception feeling and four arupa jhana ?

I think it’s just a special case for Anagamis (ones who has destroy five lower fetter), because I don’t find other instances of this case other than this.


AFAIK the pure abodes (suddhavasa) aren’t linked a to a particular rupa jhana. The Buddha said that this was the only place he hadn’t been born in before he became the Buddha- because it is only accessible to non-returners. This realm has only non-returners and those who became arahanths there, so is a sort of the ‘Dhamma land’ of sorts, but requires giving up all sensual pleasure and aversions to get there (apart from self view etc from stream entry, upwards).

with metta

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I don’t remember the source but to develop the magga and phala requires observation over both rupa and nama. That’s why arupa brahmas cannot attain enlightenment. So if suddhavasa has rupa and it is part of the brahma worlds then it is rupa loka.

Pure Land Buddhism is the most widely practiced form of Buddhism in East Asia.

The Pure Land of Amida Buddha is similar to the Pure Abodes of the Pali canon, since those reborn into the Pure Land will never be reborn again in a lower realm before attaining perfect enlightenment there.

The path of seeking enlightenment by one’s own power was originally intended for monks and nuns, able to devote themselves full-time to meditation and study. Even then, the Buddha taught it would take the stream-enterer up to seven lifetimes before attaining final Nirvana.

As a free gift from Amida Buddha, those who entrust in the Nembutsu, rather than their own power, for their future enlightenment are equal in status to the non-returner.